Shane Marshall, 25, of St. Thomas, faces one count of assault with a weapon concerning the rock-throwing incident at a Trudeau Liberal campaign pit stop in London. On September 6, 2021, he threw pebbles and debris that supposedly struck the prime minister, his staff and some journalists.
Though the media reported no injuries, they criticized the People's Party of Canada heavily for the rebelliousness of the protest, citing the party signage at the demonstration alongside alleged supporters. The People's Party then removed Marshall as riding president in Elgin Middlesex London shortly after. Local law enforcement formally charged him on September 11, who is due to appear in London court Wednesday morning.
The incident garnered more protesters throughout the day, including at a microbrewery in London, reported CTV News. As Trudeau left the event, some protestors cursed the prime minister over his government's COVID health measures and vaccination requirements. "F*ck you!" shouted a woman angrily five times.
Following the ordeal, Trudeau said some of the gravel "might have hit my shoulder." He added that someone threw pumpkin seeds at him a few years ago. The prime minister called the protestors "a small fringe element" that "doesn't believe in science" and is "lashing out with racist, misogynistic attacks."
The protests occurred in response to the Trudeau Liberals' vaccine mandate for public servants and their attempts to ban travel by plane, train, or marine vessel for the unvaccinated. Trudeau contended they do not represent the vast majority of Canadians and that those "special interest groups" who back the protesters would not dictate Canada's pandemic response.
In mid-August, Trudeau said vaccine hesitancy would produce "consequences" for those refusing to get the jab but was mum on what that entailed. But on Wednesday, he clarified the goal "is not to punish people who don't want to get vaccinated," but to "protect Canadians from being infected by people who are unvaccinated."
Acknowledging "lots of people" disagreed with the mandate, and despite stating that's "okay" because "we live in a democracy," he claimed the alternative to his approach was tyranny. Trudeau announced Wednesday that unions would force public servants to take unpaid leave for staying unvaccinated without a medical exemption. He clarified that even those working from home must abide by the mandate.
The prime minister said he worked with public service unions "very closely" to ensure higher vaccination rates among its members, despite acknowledging that public servants already had "an extremely high level of vaccination," which he said was unsurprising. However, he would not answer if unions would fire federal employees for refusing the vaccine.
"You deserve a government that's going to continue to say 'get vaccinated,' and you know what, if you don't want to get vaccinated, that's your choice. But don't think you can get on a plane or a train beside vaccinated people and put them at risk," exclaimed the prime minister. "We need to put people first."